tv Newsmakers CSPAN October 7, 2012 6:00pm-6:30pm EDT
live next of it from the jfk presidential library and museum. the lakers and journalist on the 50 anniversary of the cuban vessel crisis started it of about 30 eastern on american history tv. 3, america's history tv. > >> the man in charge of democratic efforts to keep that the house, congressman, thank you for being here. >> great to be with you. >> we have to reporters here in d.c. in studio. aaron blagojavich "the washington post," and henry jackson, a political reporter pierre >> the race for the house seems to of taken a back seat. most analysts don't think that the democrats have a great chance to retaking house. but i have heard some more
optimistic statements from you. can you tell us what percentage chance you think your party has of taking the 25 seats you need in order to reclaim the chamber? >> i can tell you that we have the ball on the republican 20 yard line optimism does not win an election. we started off on our own 20 yard line two years ago. we have driven the ball to the republicans 20 yard line current we are in their red zone. we need 25 seats. we have about 73 districts in play right now. we have 53 red-to-blue candidates. their 56 districts in the country that have a republican incumbent who voted for, or john kerry in 2004. so we have a good playing field. as of today, we have 30 two democratic challengers who are either high or head in the polls. we have the ball on the republican 20-yard line. yet to kick a field goal.
this will be a field goal. in a good football fan knows that, when you have the ball on your opponent's 20-yard line, your ability to score largely depends on the wind. if we continue to have the win on our backs as we do now, i think we score. if we have the wind in front of .s commit will be hard fo by the way, two of washington's political pundits just upgraded as feared they have a acknowledged that we have some momentum. they say that it may be zero seats and 10 seats, but they haven't knowledge that we have more in play appeared >> had you define victory for yourself the cycle? >> i define victory by simply winning. my job as the chairman of the dccc is to win as many races as we can where we are competing
bid i will likely involve been if it is single-digit to double- digit for the majority. my job is to put as many districts in play as we can, exploit our opponent's weaknesses, capitalized on our strength, and we are in a heck of a lot better position now, 30 days out, then we were a year we began this campaign. >> congressman, we had a presidential debate this week. at the gala of the analysts felt that governor romney had a strong performance. how do you think that president obama's performance will turn out for democrats? >> i don't think it will, actually. most people don't remember that come in the first debate, walter mondale just crushed ronald reagan. they remember the last debate. most people have not remembered that, throughout the republican presidential primary debate, mitt romney was considered to have lost most of them. every week, there is another
star with romney in the debate. -- ipeople don't realize have great confidence that the presence will continue his momentum. >> my condolences on the mets this year, congressman. [laughter] >> thank you. >> we had a big never come out to do with the jobs report. there is some sense that that may be booing democrats today. do you think that will be a factor in competitive districts? >> we are talking on this friday afternoon when the jobs numbers have come out. our viewers will be watching on sunday. go ahead, congressman.
>> we still have work to do. the fact that unemployment is now under 8% says that we are heading in the right direction under the very economic policies that governor romney is articulating and espousing. we had crushing unemployment. unemployment went up there is a month. as a result of policies that democrats have been articulating, we're going in a better direction. i would rather be going in that direction. these numbers are good -- not as a matter politics -- but good for the country and that is what counts. >> a lot to ask a couple questions about campaign strategy. with medicare. i know that when paul ryan was picked as the vice-presidential nominee, i don't think there's anybody that was more excited
about that then you work and you have made a living out of all ryan's budget and turning medicare into a voucher program. i wonder if you think that line of attack on republicans has panned out as well as you thought it would come given the fact that the romney campaign has pointed that out. >> i can give you some empirical evidence that those perfectly misplaced priorities by republicans in voting to end medicare in order to fund tax cuts for millionaires, that those priorities have helped democrats across the board. governor romney chose paul ryan as his running mate on august 11.
. before that, if you look at the polling in the country, it was pretty much tied. generics were really tight. maybe up one could after august 11, when governor romney decided to double down on the republican plan to and medicare to fund tax cuts for millionaires and big oil companies, it began to spread. instead of being in a neutral environment, we were up 1, 2 and 3. and then when todd aitken express' those horrific fox -- expressed those for fifth thoughts about rape, it raised it even more. and then independent voters in particular were reminded how extreme these people are and that these people have priorities that would in fact and in medicare in order to fund
tax cuts for millionaires. the more republican ideas art articulated, the better we do in the polls. if the generics keep spreading, five or six or more, then we win back the house. there is a direct correlation between the generic pooling and our ability to win back the house. right now, it is going in the right direction. >> the emerging strategy seems to be attacking republicans -- attaching republicans to the department. you mentioned the reports on the house races. david wasserman pointed out that just 19 of the almost 90 members of the freshman class, the republican freshman class, actually joined the tea party caucus when they joined congress. and only two of those members are action considered amongst the metropole " -- the most vulnerable republicans in
congress. i wonder if it is more difficult to execute that line of attack when these members have not associated themselves as much of the tea party once they actually joined congress. >> in fact, they may have tried to moderate themselves in public relations, but they have been voting with the tea party down the line come every step, every vote. when they voted for the ryan budget, a casting a party vote on the defining issue of the congress -- medicare versus millionaire. here's what happened. most of these guys were elected in 2010 on an unmistakable tea party tsunami. then buyers more -- than buyers remorse set in, particularly with 9 million independent voters across the country. the tea party wave receded and it left these tea party members high and dry with their own voting record. i respectfully disagree with david. he said two t republicans in trouble -- i think it is far more than that. i can think of five of the top
of my head. and there are three other -- and there are other two-party republicans who think the two- party for elected them -- and there are other tea party republicans who thanked the tea party for electing them and then they vote with obama. did you vote for the ryan budget or did you not? that is the defining vote. we will hold them to test across this country. and i think we will do very well. >> to talk about the circumstances you think you need to put the house for early in play this year. in going over the battleground races, not all of the district to mention that obama won in 2008 necessarily have a
competitive candidate. do you feel you have recruited enough candidates to get the numbers you need come to get from the 20-yard line to the goal line? >> everything that is in our control we have not only done, but we have exceeded expectations. we have out raise the republicans. we have out run them we have redistricted them in many areas, like illinois, new york, and elsewhere, california. everything that we have been asked to do, we have exceeded expectations. again, we have over 70 districts in play. we have 52 red-to-the candidates. we only need 25 to win the house back. -- red-to-blue candidates. we only need 25 to win the house back. we have enough districts in play. we have a defined battle space. the battle gives the scene of
districts in place to win 25 seats could but there's no question about it. it will largely depend on the wind. if the gender -- president generate enough win on our back, it will be easier could if something goes wrong and we have the wind in our face, we will might get the 25 seats. >> what are these emerging districts that you are thinking of that were not necessarily in plate or that are now in play? >> we have districts in florida in play and we're doing very well. jose hernandez against jeff dunham in play, really doing well. just those two in florida. bell deming set against webster, we're doing very well. those are places where the pundits did not think we had a chance in and now they are in play. this goes to our recruiting strategy. we needed decision early on that
the american people have an unquenchable thirst for problem- solving, for solutions, not for blame, but for solutions. so take a look at the race is now in place in florida. orlando's first african-american woman police chief who brought crime down 40%. take a look at the race with a jet them in california, -- with inject venom in california, jose hernandez -- with jeff dunham in california, jose hernandez appeared an astronaut, a police chief -- they're not about left or right. they're not about blame. there are about solutions. that is why our courts are doing so well across the board and why these races are now in play. >> you keep noting that the number 25 and the cook political report. it said he would likely need to pick up between 35 and 40
republican house seats because some might lose on your site. >> david wasserman understands that we have some democrats in pretty tough district geared the terrain may not be as favorable as we would want. so we have to play offense and defense. if i could pay david to be a resident skeptic, could not pay him enough. i happen to think that our front-line candidates, even in top district, are in pretty good shape for zero good reasons. if they could win in 2010 against the roughest and most brutal environment that many of us have ever seen, they can win in 2012. it is a much more hospitable environment for democrats. no. 2, they are field tested and battle ready. they know is out there. they have been working their districts very hard. they're connecting with their
voters. virtually all of our front-line incumbents are much -- are a much better shape in the polls than the republican incumbents, which is barely holding on with their fingernails are now. in 2012, we are in better shape than we were in 2010. and in 2012, the republicans are where we were in 2010. but let's say the democrats do take back the house. new democrats automatically but nancy pelosi back in the speakership? >> i hope so, but that is a decision we are not focused on and alfred nancy pelosi knows that. she is focused relentlessly -- and nancy pelosi knows that. she is focus relentlessly on the next 30 days. i occupied one of the narrowest lanes in washington. if i look too far down the lane or looked my left or right, i am
distracted. i will be focused on the next 30 days and those 25 seats. >> if you guys when the house, you will almost certainly have won the presidency and the senate. if you don't win the house, we will have at least two more years of split government. we have the fiscal cliff coming up. we have a lot of major issues on the table right now. i wonder if you have any hope that the kind of gridlock we have seen in congress in recent years will subside and the two sides will start working together and actually get things done. >> i do have some hope for this reason. even if we fall short of the 25 seats -- and i am not conceding a single seat -- but even if we fall short, we will have beaten that the tea party tsunami of 2010. a lot of these tea party republicans who wrote in and said we will not compromise, we will not negotiate, we will not think about moving the country forward because we are too busy thinking about how to hide
jacket for the to the right, a lot of this tea party republicans will either be defeated or they will be chastened by the numbers. i hope that will give moderate republicans a sense of empowerment that they can step up and do what democrats have been seeking for the past two years. sit down, find common ground and consensus. we can turn of sequestration. democrats want to limit spending that does not work. we are ready to have a deficit reduction bill that is big, bold and balanced. but we also understand that and in addition to spending cuts coming up to have some revenue. and i hope that moderate republicans will be empowered to negotiate that with us for the good of the country. >> when we come back in november, all of the members of congress, including some of the tea party members to vote to defeat this year, will still be your, -- will still be here.
how do you navigate that if democrats are successful in november? >> again, i am not really thinking about the day after. i am focused on how do we get to a position where we win the house representatives and then we can reach out across the aisle and talk to moderate republicans and maybe even to some tea party republicans who have now learned the lesson first hand, as painful as it may be, that extremism is just not a virtue. and maybe we will be able to talk some sense into them and get back to where we were in the debt reduction talks last august. three times, we had a debt reduction deal with john boehner on spending cuts and some revenues and debt reduction and on all three occasions, when it was brought back to the tea party caucus, the rejected the deal. i hope that the results of this election, if nothing else, will teach republicans and the republican tea party members the
lesson that their constituents want agreement, not disagreement. they want solutions, not blame. and maybe it will be a better climate to strike balance to avoid the fiscal cliff. >> the job of campaign committee chairman used to be a one-term position. that seems to be changing these days. i wonder if you have any interest in making this a four- year job for yourself, if you would consider continuing after the cycle is over. >> i did not have a gray hair on his head before i became the head of the democratic congressional committee. i am really focused on what we need to do between now and the election. after the election, my first
obligation is to report for duty in my congressional district. and then we will figure out how many seats we picked up, whether or not we are in the majority and we will focus on the things beyond that could i am focused on what really counts right now, which is winning my own reelection in rhode island and the 25 seats elsewhere in the country. >> it it kind of sounded like a no. >> i don't know, how about that? if i am thinking about 2014, that means i'm not thinking about 2012. if i am not thinking about 2012, i can guarantee you that i am not -- we will not pick up 25 seats. >> i want to talk about spending in 2012. you were one of many democrats who expressed fears of this wave of super pac money. there was an interesting article yesterday talking about how a lot of democrats and super pacs
are pooling their money to outspend the republican counterpart. do you still feel leery about superbad money at this point? -- about super pac money at this point? >> i think super pacs are hijacking democracy. on the other side -- and the other hand, i have not been so baseball side before. if one team gets bats and balls, so do the other team. if there will be super pacts better trying to help republicans across the country to beat democrats, we will have .o play on their terms appeare when we win the 25 seats, the first order of business will be to pass the disclose that some people know where these advertisements are coming from, who is sponsoring them and why.
there will be fundamental campaign reform and more transparency and accountability for these super pacs with a democratic majority. i will never forget that kevin mccarthy, when we sat down at the white house correspondents' dinner, he said, sure, you are out raising us, but it does not matter because the republican are with us. i am not going to raise a red -- i am not going to raise a white flag. >> we're getting to the point where you need to make decisions about certain races and you can and not to. i am wondering if you are ruthless enough to do this? are you prepared to tell members of congress, i'm sorry, you
cannot win and we will have to take away the funding in your district? >> number one, this job is not for the faint of heart. no. 2, yes, you have to be cold hearted to get the 25 seats. number three, we have a good problem. we may be pulling some reservations in markets, but not because we're concerned about losing, but because our candidates are doing so well and we don't have to help them. they're doing fine by themselves. we have a very good problem right now where we have a bunch of districts that we did not budget for that are now winnable. i called unwinnable, but not affordable. so we have to raise the resources to play in districts that we did nothing would be on the board. if somebody said to me two years ago that we would have over 70 races in play, 53 red-to-blue candidates, and 30 democratic challengers high forehead, i would say i cannot believe that. behind or ahead, i would say i
cannot believe that. so right now, have to make sure we can budget for those races. that is a good problem to have. i would rather have winnable but not affordable as opposed to affordable but not winnable. >> you talk little bit about the impact of the presidential race on the race for the house. he conceded that president obama has to be successful in order for you to take back the house this year? -- do you concede that president obama has to be successful in order for you to take back the house this year? >> yes. in 2010, when the republicans won the house, they were up over 70 in the generics. we are now up about four or five in the combined generics. if the president does well, we do well. the president can do very well
in states where we can run up the score, new york and illinois and california. he does not add -- i don't think he believes he can win in texas, but we can win more seats in texas. our game plan is built to fit into the environment and we need a lot of success by the president to enhance their chances of getting those 25 seats. >> i will ask a question that will allow you to not come off as a politician and take a stand on an issue that really concerns your constituents right now. i want you to know if you think it is time for a team to go -- if it is time for tim tebow to start planning for the new york jets. >> i can ask you -- i can answer any question you ask about the new york mets. on the jets and the giants in
football, i confess i am really agnostic. and i never thought that i would use the term agnostic when talking about tim tebow. >> thank you for being on "newsmakers." let me turn to our to reporters for a quick round of the what we've heard from the chairman of the dccc on the democrats' efforts to take back the house. what do you think? he says 25. has me know this year, the political report says more like 35 to 40. >> we know it does not 25 seats. i think the congressman knows it is not 25 seats. what you heard from him is what we heard most of the cycle. early on, there is a question over whether the house was really in play. knows it would take a big list. >> i look at the spending that each committee is doing in all of these races and how much they spend on individual races.
the democrats are playing a lot of offense. they are spending 7% of their money on offensive district. -- spending 70% of their money on offensive districts. democrats have not spent in a lot of these races, but if they do one of being in play and the congressman will defend them, to take over republican house seats pierre >> part of that is just where the congressman ambitious life is. these are not cheap seats to put in play for cheap seats to win. specifically in orlando or southern california. that is a lot of money going in the year. >> what is the money game like
right now? >> the republicans spent a lot more money early on because they know that they have the super pacs to come in later to close the race for them. we see the republicans spend about $25 million so far. democrats have spent about half of that. the money overall is pretty even. so democrats do have plenty of money that they can spend on dozens of house races. and if things do somehow shift in their favor, they have the candidates in place and they can take advantage of any kind of wave that materializes. that is why i don't think anybody is necessarily counting them out as far as winning the majority. this looks like a very long shot at this point. >> what to watch for in the next month? >> i think you have to watch whether democrats wind up spending money in these democratic-held seats, whether they have to spend money in the
connecticut with the district. there is a fifth -- in the connecticut fifth district. if they have to spend money in some of these democratic-held seats in california, f instance, where the whole map is a jumble, if they have to start defending these democrat-leaning territories, then you know that it is not a democratic wave. >> and he referred to the democrats on the front line, those vulnerable democrats. how many are them are there? >> the fireline program is members who, at the start of the cycle, look like they were vulnerable. right now, republicans are targeting about 16 democrats. democrats are spending money to the but when you -- spending money on